There we were, a virtual family…
Sunday night the girls had an impromptu change in their schedule by spending the night at their dad’s on a school night. When it came time for bed, Ruby was missing me. Thanks to FaceTime I accompanied her into the bathroom to brush her teeth, and chatted with her while she changed into her pjs. I stayed “with” her as she got under the covers. As we were talking, her dad came into her room and laid down next to her, partially filling the screen.
He and I “tucked her in” together – they in the bed, and me on the screen. There we were, a “virtual” family. After he and I tucked her in, we moved on to Beau’s room and did the same.
A tender scene, to be sure.
It triggered some sadness for me (I think that’s why I blogged about divorce yesterday). Sadness, but also warmth. I am grateful that we can comfortably share that kind of intimate moment together, with our children…for our children.
I think there will always be a bittersweet feeling during the moments when we are enveloped together in our love for our children. No one else will ever feel what we feel for them…the absolute awe and gratitude for their very existence.
There is often an exchanged glance between us in moments like these, and I know we are both thinking the same thing –
I’m sorry, I wish things were different.
At this point, the regret isn’t about our relationship, it is about our family. We wish things were different for them. The truth is, though, that our children have moved on. They have embraced the new normal.
What seems to matter most to them is that he and I authentically care about each other. When they see us interact and communicate with each other in a warm and respectful way, they are happy. Of course they don’t articulate this, but it is plain to see. The children notice everything…any modicrum of disharmony is felt in their bones.
Our mere tremors can rock their very foundation.
Sometimes it can’t be helped – the disharmony. We’ve been through so much, he and I. Some of it has been too painful to hide, despite our best efforts.
Though the initial separation was amicable, the actual process of divorce was really hard on us. We started with a mediator but ultimately we had to rely on lawyers to help us. This caused us both to load on the armor (never a good thing). We learned the hard way how important it is to keep communicating with each other and to avoid allowing other people to speak for us, whenever possible. Too much can be lost in translation, especially when we already had our guard up.
Last fall we hit an all time low because of some things I am not going to get into here. No, it didn’t have anything to do with his revelation that he is transgender. That was a walk in the park compared to what transpired a few months later. I didn’t know how we would ever recover, but we did.
We did, because…
We keep showing up, over and over again. We show up to do the hard work even when we are furious, depleted or entirely discouraged. We show up even when we need professional help to do so.
After all, we are the most important people in the world to our children, and our children are the most important people in the world to us.
That is the bright, unwavering truth that has led us through the darkest of times.
Photo by Kim Fuller.